UK, Canada, Australia envoys praise Bangladesh accommodating Rohingyas
|Canadian High Commissioner Benoit-Pierre Laramée is seen talking to Rohingya refugees at Ukhiya camp on Thursday|
By Abdul Aziz
February 9, 2017
The high commissioners of Australia, Britain and Canada visited a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox's Bazar on Thursday.
The high commissioners of three Commonwealth countries have visited a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar.
Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Julia Niblett, British High Commissioner Alison Blake, and Canadian High Commissioner Benoit-Pierre Laramée visited a Kutupalang Rohingya refugee camp in Ukhiya around 11am on Thursday. They were accompanied by representatives of the district administration, police, United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees, International Organisation for Migration and Action Against Hunger.
The high commissioners spoke to a number of refugees at an unregistered camp, after which they spoke to the media.
Alison Blake, high commissioner of Britain, said: “I have a first-hand account of what life is like in the refugee camps. The refugees have told us all about the torture and the massacre in Myanmar.
“Based on their accounts, the atrocities in Myanmar is tantamount to genocide. We urge the Myanmar government to put an end to the hostilities and repatriate the Rohingya population,” she said.
Benoit-Pierre echoed her compatriot’s sentiments and lauded the Bangladesh government’s efforts to accommodate the Rohingya people.
She said: “The government’s humanitarian actions are laudable. We have to continue working to protect the basic human rights of the Rohingya.”
Australian High Commissioner Julia emphasised the need for international efforts to preserve the rights of the Rohingya people when they are sent back to Myanmar.
They reached Cox’s Bazar on Wednesday afternoon and met with Additional Deputy Commissioner Kazi Abdur Rahman, who received the envoys on behalf of the deputy commissioner.
The three envoys praised the Bangladesh government for accommodating the Rohingya refugees during this time of crisis.
Earlier, a three-member team of the Annan Commission visited the refugee camps in Ukhiya and Teknaf on January 29 and 30.
On January 31, a nine-member delegation, including US Ambassador Marcia Bernicat, visited the Rohingya camps.
An estimated 70,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar since the army began a massive anti-insurgency operation in the Rohingya-dominated area in October.
Two senior UN officials dealing with refugees fleeing violence say more than 1,000 Rohingyas may have been killed in the crackdown.
The Myanmar government, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, has previously denied allegations of torture, rape, arson and murder by the army during the operation.
About 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims live in apartheid-like conditions in Myanmar, where they are denied citizenship and regarded as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.